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Directed by: Amir Shervan
Starring: Matt Hannon, Robert Z'Dar, Joselito Rescober, Mark Frazer, Melissa Moore, and Gerald Okamura
Attempting to describe Samurai Cop
is not easy. It’s like director Amir Shervan and everyone else involved
made this movie without having ever seen another movie before. Only
having HEARD of something called a “movie” and trying to make one
themselves, sight unseen, with nothing to compare it to. Thus, Samurai
Cop is chock full of non-actors giving hilarious line readings, absurd
dubbing, and hacksaw editing consisting of various scenes of
strange-looking people attempting to communicate with each other in ways
human beings have not yet seen.
This is probably pointless,
but here’s the plot: the evil Katana gang is causing all sorts of
trouble in the L.A. Area. Chinese and Japanese gangs are at war and
there is violence everywhere. Luckily, the LAPD has an ace in the hole:
Joe “Samurai” Marshall (Hannon), a long-haired, orange-skinned
freak who just learned English a few weeks ago. They called him in from
San Diego because of some sort of expertise in Japanese culture, hence
his nifty nickname. They team him up with Frank (Frazer), presumably
because of his mastery of reaction shots. Peggy (Moore, who apparently
has taken this film off her resume) is a female cop helping them out,
because Yamashita (the non-Japanese Z’Dar), Fujiyama (Rescober), and Gerald Okamura as...wait for it...OKAMURA are a serious gang to be reckoned with Back at the police station, the angry chief to end all angry chiefs is Captain Roma, the apoplectic but somehow lovable boss.
movie is absolutely hilarious. The dubbing alone is worth the price of
admission. Supposedly found languishing in a vault in Italy and brought
to light by Italian cinephiles which led to its eventual DVD release on Media Blasters (complete with a funny Joe Bob Briggs commentary track), Samurai Cop stands alone
in its charming, winning, violence-and-nudity-packed ineptitude.
But top honors must go, not to stalwarts Robert Z’Dar and Gerald Okamura, but to American hero Matt Hannon. Not credited with any other movie, and supposedly a one-time bodyguard for Sylvester Stallone,
this man is amazing. Perhaps the ultimate meathead, he makes Chip Mayer
look like Joe Lara, whatever that means. The fact that “Samurai” Joe
Marshall is supposed to be this great womanizer is too funny. He’s so
unbelievably wooden, he makes the Amazon rainforest look barren. And his
quasi-nudity doesn’t help matters. (Nor does the quasi-nudity of Z’Dar
and Okamura, but it is balanced nicely with some softcore porn-type
scenes that pad out the inexplicable 96-minute running time).
director Shervan was going for a Lethal Weapon/Miami Vice sort of
thing, but the stunning lack of continuity or any sort of pacing make
the movie seem like a complete
absurdity, almost a surrealist film. Due to its breaking of just about
every rule of filmmaking, it seems like a child made it. While watching
the movie, you can’t help but ask yourself “where did they find these
people?” Apparently it was named Samurai Cop to cash in on the whole
Z’Dar-Maniac Cop connection - but just ignore the misleading box art.
Comparisons could also be made, at least in the buddy cop department, to
Action U.S.A, but Frank is no Panama, sadly. Naturally it all ends in the
time-honored “Final Field Fight” after Frank and Joe have killed all
the mulleted goons around.
An awesome, one-of-a-kind movie that seems like it was made on another planet, Samurai Cop is a classic for the ages.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty